Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker will hold new elections after calls to resign from his junior coalition partner over a scandal surrounding the country’s secret service, putting an end to the longest held office of a European head of government.
Juncker said last night that he would convene the government this morning and go to the Palace to suggest snap elections to the head of state Grand Duke Henri.
Before the announcement, the assembly had been reviewing a report it had commissioned on the country’s security agency SREL, containing allegations of illegal bugging of politicians, the purchase of cars for private use and the taking of payments and favours in exchange for access to politicians.
The report concluded that Juncker had limited control over the security agency despite being the responsible minister and that he failed to inform either the parliamentary committee of control or justice authorities about its operations.
Alex Bodry, president of the Socialist coalition partner, urged Juncker during the parliament session to take full political responsibility over the scandal and call an election.
Juncker, who became prime minister in 1995, denied any wrongdoing. It was not immediately clear whether he would fight the next election, which must be held within three months.
“The intelligence service was not my top priority,” he told parliament in a two-hour speech.
“Moreover, I hope Luxembourg will never have a prime minister who sees SREL as [his or her] priority.”
The centre-right CSV and its Socialist partner hold 39 of the 60 seats in parliament.
Wealthy Luxembourg, a major financial hub, is one of Europe’s most politically stable countries. The CSV has led all but one government since World War Two.